2019 Convention: April 10-13, 2019 in Chicago

RCC and ACP will meet jointly and RCC will celebrate its 90th year anniversary, 1929-2019. Theme: Seeing in New Ways: Possibilities and Perceptions

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Religion Communication Congress 2020 Welcomes New Leadership

Fr. James (Jim) Gardiner

Fr. James (Jim) Gardiner has been named the Chair of Religion Communication Congress 2020. Currently the director of special projects at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., Jim is a Bronx-born Franciscan Friars of the Atonement (Graymoor). A graduate of St. Pius X Seminary and the Catholic University of America, Fr. Jim Gardiner, SA, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1969. He has ministered in New York City, College Park (MD), Akron (OH) and twice in Garrison (NY) – first as communications director for the Friars and later as director of the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. He has also been an active member of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), formerly Religious Public Relations Council (RPRC), since 1974 and currently serves as part of the Washington D.C. chapter of the same organization.

Marvelous things are happening as we continue preparations for Religion Communication Congress 2020. As of September 2018, we have over 90 Cooperating Organizations and that number continues to grow. The Congress will be held March 17-21, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in the Washington D.C. area. Mark your calendars and start planning for your stay in this remarkable city.

The theme for our program has been chosen: “Communicating Faith in the Public Square.” This is a theme that resonates with the current atmosphere both in the media and among various political climates around the world. “With so-called fake news itching to become the new normal, it’s more important than ever for faith communities to strengthen their relationships with one another, address together neuralgic issues that divide and share the healing balm that only faith can offer,” says new Chair, Fr. Jim Gardiner. We welcome Jim and offer our support as he tackles both the challenges and creative initiatives accompanying his new post.


Nashville Chapter explores religion reporting in today's world

Holly Meyer

The Nashville Chapter had a great meeting in August at United Methodist Communications. It was a lunch and learn with Holly Meyer, Religion Reporter for The Tennessean. Holly spoke about the changing landscape of religious reporting and the challenges of communicating faith issues through mainstream media.

She gave many personal examples of her experiences in religious reporting including how she came to be a religion reporter – in fact, she is the only religion reporter in the entire USA Today Network. She said there are other reporters who do write religious stories, but she is the only one with that sole focus. You might think this makes sense as Nashville is termed the "Buckle of the Bible Belt." However, Holly reported that Nashville is practically tied with New York in the percentage of the population that reports "no religious affiliation" with New York's being 22% in 2016, and Nashville at 21%  (source: The American Values Atlas).


DC Chapter hears from NAB and NABEF on new Reporting on Religion project

By Cherilyn Crowe

Marcellus Alexander presenting at the meeting.

(Photo by Cherilyn Crowe)

The National Association of Broadcasters and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation are spearheading an initiative to provide a toolkit for local television and radio stations when they report on religion. The toolkit is also being made available to university journalism schools across the country. At the June meeting of the D.C. Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council, the leaders of NAB and NABEF shared the vision for the project and the progress they have made.


Media have role in diffusing racial tension

Philip Lee

Philip Lee, general secretary of the World Association for Christian Communication. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

GENEVA — Mass media can play a positive role in creating attitudes of tolerance and greater understanding in situations where racism might inflame already difficult conditions, says Philip Lee, head of a Christian global communication rights organization. The World Association for Christian Communication is marking its 50th anniversary.

Read more on the WCC website...

Fred Rogers, Wilbur Award winner, subject of new documentary

In April 2000, RCC presented a lifetime achievement Wilbur Award to Fred Rogers of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” for a career dedicated to promoting spiritual values.

During the heyday of PBS’s “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” even some Presbyterians didn't know that the mild-spoken host of the popular children’s program was a clergyman and (probably) the most famous living Presbyterian in all the world.

Fred Rogers’s influence is explored by Morgan Neville in the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” coming out this month. Learn more in Review: Take the Next Trolley to ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ by By A.O. Scott in the June 6, 2018 issue of the New York Times.

RCC hears from Rev. Michael Waters, Wilbur Award winning author

Rev. Dr. Michael Waters (r) is pictured with Gusto! host Myron Knudson (l) prior to the Wilbur Award winner giving a presentation for the speakers program and Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of RCC.

Half a hundred, including members of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of RCC, gathered recently to hear 2018 Wilbur Award winner, Rev. Dr. Michael Waters, speak on topic of Social Justice, Hope and Empowerment. Dr. Waters presentation was sponsored by the Gusto! program at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas. He won the Wilbur award for his non-fiction book titled, Stakes is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America.

Dr. Waters opened with the honest comment that in the morning’s presentation his responsibility “was not to make you comfortable.” He went on to tell attendees that, “If I disturb, then perhaps that will motivate to action.”


Religion communicators explore peace and justice through communication

By Patrick Horn

Shirley Struchen, executive director of RCC, speaks at the opening plenary session of the 2018 convention (photo by George Conklin).

Religion communicators, meeting in Atlanta last week during the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, explored how communication could help advance peace and justice. The theme for the 89th annual national convention of the Religion Communicators Council, which ran from April 5 through 7, was “Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication.”

The Religion Communicators Council is an organization of interfaith communication and public relations professionals founded in 1929. They present the prestigious Wilbur Award of excellence for secular journalism on religious issues and the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards for members who demonstrate excellence in communications.


Stories about race in America lead the 2018 Wilbur Awards

By Skyler Nimmons

2018 Wilbur Award winners (photo by Malinda Rawls)

ATLANTA — Days after the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his birthplace of Atlanta, notably the heart of the South with a complicated history of race, equality, and justice, the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) celebrated the winners of the 2018 Wilbur Awards.

RCC announced 22 Wilbur Award winners March 5. The awards honor the creative journalistic excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – in communicating religious, social justice, and political issues, values and themes in culture during 2017.


Tips when covering Islam and Muslims

Wajahat AliTop 30 do's and don'ts when covering Islam and Muslims — Tips from Wajahat Ali, co-host of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream to the 2015 RCC National Convention.

The first three are:

  • Do diversify your portfolio of token Muslims. Different Muslim super heroes have different superpowers.
  • Do not assume Arabs = Muslims and Muslims = Arab. Do not use them interchangeably.
  • Do seek out Muslims who are black and/or white and or other colors. They exist, not all are brown.



Convention news

Religion communicators explore peace and justice through communication

Stories about race in America lead the 2018 Wilbur Awards

Religion communicators visit Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights

Reframing diversity and inclusion

RCC elects Board of Governors, hears reports at annual business meeting

Be prepared: copyright, trademark and privacy laws do affect religion communication

Breaking through noise requires research, planning

Annual reports tell your story one year at a time

Faith groups should recommit to leadership on civil rights, panel members say

Building relationships is key in communication leadership

Enhancing your story with digital media

To work more smartly in social media, realize it’s not all about you

Reach your audience with these six steps

From theory to practice: Teaching, learning, and communicating in interfaith studies

Find commonalities, then go deeper and understand our differences

Communicators attend workshop on crisis scenarios

Reputation management requires planning, evaluation of risks and opportunities

Ask, decide, and take action: Tips for visualizing expanded media engagement

Awards presented to religion communicators

Intersectional justice: Gender, race, and religion in the media

RCC members learn about Atlanta’s history

Atlanta convention opens with keynote on “Realizing the Dream”

Atlanta in Spring!

Matters of Church and State, not so separate among winning entries for 2018 Wilbur Awards

Spotlight on Speakers for RCC 2018

How faith communities use public relations

Convention News – Tour of Historic Atlanta

2018 convention engages how faith communities use public relations

Workshops at spring 2018 convention to help Religion Communicators polish skills

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